Thursday, September 18, 2014

"Love means always remembering to say you're sorry..." - Guest Blogger Ashlee

My husband and I have been together almost seven happy years. Our first wedding anniversary is coming on the 21st, and I thought it would be great to write an article about lasting relationships. Now, I know for those who have been wedded for many years, and have known their spouses longer this might seem like a pretty miniscule amount of time. Of course we've had arguments—big ones! We're two sentient beings who have our own ideas about how we meander throughout this world. We choose to do it side by side, and we're obviously going to disagree sometimes about what path to take, but that doesn't mean we don't love each other. Maybe this will serve as a great reminder for those older couples about what make things exciting, and what makes things last. Maybe this will be great for younger couples trying to really make things work. Maybe this will also come across as utter mushy nonsense, but that's totally okay. That being said, here is my advice.

Love means always remembering to say you're sorry: All of that never saying sorry stuff is nonsense. After an argument, you have to reconcile. You have to express remorse, and you must mean it when you do, or there really is no point in apologizing. Everyone says things they don't mean when they argue. Maybe your partner was correct, but you have to apologize for causing distress in your relationship and mean it. Try to never go to bed angry.

Always say I love you: I don't think a day has gone past which I my husband and I haven't said I love you. Saying it often doesn't lessen the gravity of those words if you are sincere. Even when my husband and I are arguing, or his habits are irritating me, I am still saying I love you with each and every word. That's why these scenarios happen:

Jon, please stop leaving chunks of food debris in the bottom of the sink. It's disgusting.”
I love you too, sweetie.”
...And then I shoot some sort of disproving but affectionate glare. Affectionate glares happen in long term relationships. Watch a married couple long enough—It's a thing, not an oxymoron.

Sex: Without going into detail, I would just like to say that you should keep having it. It alleviates stress, it's great exercise and it releases all sorts of happy bonding hormones like oxytocin.

Compromise: Never compromise any of your basic principles—if you have to bend those, maybe you need to think long and hard about your relationship. However, know when to compromise about things that are petty in the long run like weekend plans and time spent with the in laws.

Always keep supporting and challenging each other. Always remain ambitious: Whether it's going to law school, some sort of short term health goal, or shooting for a promotion, you need to express support for your spouse. Even if that expression of support is unsolicited, sometimes people don't just come out and ask for it. I know my husband doesn't, but he loves to hear it. Everyone needs it, especially when they are making Especially when he has that vaguely worried, furrowed brow expression going on. Be attentive.

Keep switching things up. Do things that are unexpected and thoughtful: Experiencing anything new together creates lasting, fond memories. Do something new! It doesn't have to be a major adventure. My husband and I love to go biking and hiking together. Sharing that sense of discovery and wonderment together is fantastic. Also, surprising your spouse with something small, like something you knew they were pining after, or even your spouse's favorite beverage after you run into the gas station lets them know you were thinking about them and that you listened to their needs and wants. It doesn't have to be material, either. It makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside, and it doesn't go unnoticed.

Honesty: I think this is probably the most important thing. If you are not honest to your spouse, who are you? You're someone else. I believe your marriage must be built on a foundation of honesty. If you're not honest, you're presenting your spouse with a facade. How can you make major life decisions together without being honest? You must bare your soul. If you can't do that, I don't think you can be in a happy relationship.

Those are what I believe to be the most important parts of a happy, lasting relationship. Please feel free to share your input, and tell you how I feel about what I've shared myself.

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